Crisis of Belief.

This weekend at church we’ve been having a “Fresh Encounter” conference. It’s been good stuff.

As I’ve read through the material, listened to the sermons, & participated in the sessions, it all came together to confirm in my heart that I have truly been experiencing a fresh encounter with God over the last 7-8 months. {Not that I didn’t already feel that way, but I love seeing God confirm the work He is doing.} Considering that revival is a return to spiritual health and a right relationship with God, I have been drawn closer to God and experienced revival through our infertility. I think that work really started in me when I fully surrendered my body, dreams, and family to God.

But the weekend also served to bring to the forefront a fear that’s been growing lately…a crisis of belief. I haven’t really talked about it with anyone, mostly tried to push it aside and not work out my thoughts on the topic, but during one of the small group sessions I opened up about it. Just speaking it aloud began to help the fear dissipate, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since…trying to wrap my brain around how God would have me handle this fear.

Basically it’s this: I know that God has called us to embryo adoption. That’s not where I’m struggling. God has given us a peace and has opened doors to get that process started. *However* we have not been ‘promised,’ nor is it a guarantee, that we will end up with a viable pregnancy or baby when all is said and done. That’s where the fear {which is NOT from God} has been creeping in.

And so, I’m trying to figure out what to do with that information…where to fit God in with that.

If you would have asked me at the beginning of the year if traditional adoption was God’s plan for us, I would have said “Yes!!” And at that time, it was. Through the period of time we committed ourselves to God and adoption, He did a necessary and mighty work in us. Then He revealed a new step in the plan, one that moved us away from traditional adoption and toward embryo adoption. And if you were to ask me today if embryo adoption is God’s plan for us, I would have to say…”Yes!!” And yet, I recognize that I do not see the full picture…only the next step. I don’t know what the “end” result will be.

I think a couple of things have been contributing to my fear…
1) The deceiver…trying to steal my peace, trust, and faith in God
2) Not talking more openly about the embryo part of our adoption*
3) Not praying faithfully for the specifics of our adoption…busyness & tiredness has caused me to become lax
4) Not fully surrendering the process to God

*There are several reasons why we have not talked very publicly about the embryo part of our adoption process. {And by we, I really mean me…Chris hasn’t had this struggle, at times to my great frustration!} At first it was because we were still figuring it out ourselves, learning about it, making a decision. But since we’ve decided, I’ve held it a bit close to my chest.

Because we’re early in the process.

Because of the possibility that it might ‘not work.’

Because I haven’t had a chance to tell my extended family in person yet.

Because of situations and statements made by others at work.

Because it’s this new, unknown thing.

Because people might not agree with it.

Some of those reasons come into play more than others, but they’ve all kept me from sharing at one time or another. I’ve struggled with feeling uncomfortable about not letting others in, people who are genuinely praying for our adoption, who truly want to understand what we are going through.

What I’m coming to realize though is that, because this is our calling and reality, I am depriving God of the glory I so desperately prayed He would receive when I don’t share…and I am feeding the fear that has been planted in my heart.

Does this mean I should tell everyone? That I should shout it from the mountaintops? That I should clog my facebook feed with embryo adoption links? {Haha…no to that last one…there aren’t THAT many EA links…}

No…I don’t think it does. I think it will require communication with and discernment from God. I think it means holding it in an open palm and being willing to share that part of myself to others when He asks me to.

Because of the “no guarantees” aspect of EA, my mom and I have talked some about me ‘guarding my heart’ just in case. I know as my mom she wants to spare me of any further pain or heartache. {Trust me, I don’t want to willingly go looking for those things either!} After talking about it with her again tonight, and sharing that I feel like I need to be more open about what God is doing in our lives through EA, I realized a new petition we need to present to the Lord.

For GOD to guard my heart.

I can’t both guard my heart against the possibility this might not be the full means through which He grows our family AND walk confidently in faith, with a trusting willingness to share His work and glory to others.

I can’t do both.

But He can.

He can guard my heart. He’s done it before…He guarded my heart when we began trying to conceive, not allowing me to get ‘baby fever.’ He guarded my heart against becoming bitter with pregnant girls/women.

And He will do it again. I will trust Him with my heart, with this process, with our future baby (or babies) because He is trustworthy. Because He sees the full picture. Because He is good, and He is love…and because even if our family doesn’t grow because of EA, He has promised that there is a purpose to all things, that He works good through all circumstances for those who are called according to His purpose.

{Additionally, we can pray that He guards my the aspects of my job which I am worried about…which have kept me from sharing there.}

In moving forward, confidently in faith, I feel like God is asking me to…
1) Surrender all of this to Him…the process, my heart, the fear…over and over again, if that’s what it takes
2) Recommit to time spent in prayer for my own spiritual revival, for Chris, and for our EA & embryos
3) Glorify God through the testimony of what He is doing when opportunities present themselves
4) Believe & trust in the path He has set us on until He tells/shows me otherwise

Whew. That’s all for tonight. This might be a jumbled mess…I might have to add more tomorrow…but I needed to start hammering it out so that I can make sense of what God has been doing in me this weekend.

May God be glorified in all I say and do.

Blessed am I.

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Days like today.

It’s days like today {or really, evenings like this evening} that I know I’ll look back on one day wistfully.

1st day of Spring…beautiful weather…

A quiet house after a long day at work…

A wagging puppy tail happy to see me…

Time to sit on the porch & read God’s word…

Relaxing with a great novel I’ve been reading…

Happy husband coming home from the gym…

Walking the dog and laughing together…

Simple dinner & quiet conversation…

A clean house…

Kisses and flirting…

Time to work on important paperwork without stress or distractions…

Praise music filling our home…

Talking to my mom on the phone…

A hot bubble bath…

The day was long and hard, like so many seem to be these days. But God somehow stretched my time out this evening, refreshing and renewing me.

Thankful for the reminder that while there is so much to look forward to, there is so much to enjoy in the here and now. This is a season we won’t ever get back…and it is glorious.

Blessed am I.

Writing the big checks.

Yesterday I wrote about our choice to pursue embryo adoption…today I want to outline how we’ve been moving forward from that and getting the ball rolling.

We had requested applications for a couple of different embryo adoption agencies in early February, and as I had free time throughout the month I worked on filling them out…just in case. One ended up being shredded, but our Nightlight application was ready and waiting for our final decision…Which meant that the embryo-adoption-pinky-promise was made on Saturday night, and the application was mailed on Tuesday morning. {Pretty quick turn-around…just had to look it all over, write a big check for the application fee, and send it off with a prayer!}

By weeks end we also had signed our retainer & written another big check for the social worker who will be completing our home study. A few days later {which blessedly ended up being toward the start of my spring break} she sent us our log-in information to download and start working on our questionnaire and checklist {with all of the necessary documents to gather, background checks to be completed, etc.}

So in the midst of sleeping in and visiting my family and getting my house in order, I’ve been typing away on our home study questionnaire and gathering all of the documents we’ll need to turn in. I was also able to complete both of my fingerprint scans, notarize a couple of forms we needed to send in, and had Chris scan everything for us. Our doctor’s appointment to fill out our medical forms is scheduled for the end of the month. With the exception of that form, I’m hoping to have everything else on our end filled out and turned in within the next week or so.

There’s no way I could have gotten that much done that quickly if I hadn’t been on Spring Break. So thankful for the timing…

After that, we’ll get our actual home visit scheduled and I’ll go to work on our family profile for the agency to show to the genetic families that might be interested in matching with us. We’ll keep saving money {more big checks to come!} and planning our garage sale for early April.

Plus there’s all of that other stuff called work and life. 😉 Busy times, but I’m thankful for the resources {time, support, and $$} we can draw from to get some movement going on the adoption front.

Blessed am I.

Sealed with a Pinky Promise.

My goodness sometimes life just gets busy around these parts.

I’ve had about 5 posts in the draft pile ever since orientation…but school has been *crazy* and spring break busy and full of other typing & writing projects so I haven’t gotten around to publishing any of them.

But before I go to bed tonight I wanted to sneak over and post just this onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnne little thing.

Our decision!

After we left orientation {while we were driving actually} Chris and I felt ready to make it official…we are feeling called / ready to move toward embryo adoption! We felt like we needed to ‘seal the deal’ {and by we I mean ME} so we pinky promised on it…then kissed on it once we stopped to grab something to drink. 😉

It was a pretty big moment for us.

As a wife, it was also a really big moment for me in a different way. Pretty early on in this adoption business, I began praying that God would really speak to / reveal His plans to Chris. I knew it would be important for Chris to feel fully invested and a part of our decision, and I didn’t want him to feel like he had been pushed into anything by me.

God started answering that prayer when He first spoke to Chris about embryo adoption. {Notice I said HE, not me. I had tried bringing it up months before, but Chris wouldn’t have any part of it. Now he doesn’t even remember that conversation!} The more we researched it and talked to one another and our families, the more confident Chris became that this was the direction God was calling us.

As Chris became more confident, I struggled more and more with just feeling terrified by the whole idea. I couldn’t {and still can’t, really} explain why…nor did I feel like it was the kind of terror that was telling me “danger!” or “stop!” Looking back on it, I think part of it was that I was waiting on that big “aha” moment from God…the one which confirmed that this was definitely, without a doubt, for sure the way we should go.

Silly me. God was right in the middle of answering my prayer…He was confirming His plans in Chris’ heart!

When we left the orientation that day, I did something that I honestly don’t do very much as a wife. I looked Chris in the eye and honestly told him that I had a peace in my heart about either direction, that I could happily go either way, and that I trusted his decision and leadership on what we should do.

It wasn’t that I didn’t have opinions or thoughts…but those had already been shared. I knew that Chris understood my heart, that he knew where I was with the Lord, that I could trust him…that I wanted him to lead our family.

So I stepped back, and I gave him the room he needed to do just that. It was with full confidence in his eyes and voice that he said ’embryo adoption’; in that moment I realized how completely God had answered my prayer.

It was a true lesson in biblical submission…the clearest experience I’ve had with that in our marriage to date. Just in typing this, I realize also that because Chris & I are one flesh, God need only reveal Himself and His will to one of us. Chris was the means through which God confirmed His adoption plans for us in my heart.

How beautiful is that?!

Blessed am I…

P.S. – When we told our families & the few friends who knew what our choices were that we had decided on embryo adoption, no one was surprised. 🙂 God is good…it’s pretty evident He’s up to something here! *wink*

Stickin’ it to the pill.

Total overshare today.

Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

I’ve been back on good ol’ birth control…as part of my backwards-PCOS, I have been having crazy irregular cycles of the average-of-two-a-month variety. Horrible.

Once we received our “I wouldn’t say it is *impossible* that you could have a biological baby without major medical intervention, but…it’s highly unlikely” diagnosis, I talked with my regular gyno {he, of course, ran a few more tests, yadda yadda} and he basically told me that our only real course of treatment is to go back on the pill.

His pill of choice turned out to be chewable, oddly, and it ain’t cheap.

Glorious.

I opted for quality of life…my emotional state couldn’t handle all of those periods…so I went back on the pill. Not my ideal situation, but it’s been better than the alternative.

But today, for whatever insurance related reason, it was going to cost me $50.

Ummm…no thanks.

With the coupon I have it’s supposed to cost $25, but there was talk of deductibles and co-pays and insurance and it’s been a rough week and in that moment…I decided to take myself off of the pill.

Boom.

I pulled around, bought a jumbo box of *ahem* feminine products {and some candy, not gonna lie} and went home with a new resolve to try the hormone-balancing essential oils a friend of mine sold me a sample of. I also realllllly need to start running again, because I’ve also read that sometimes losing even just 10 pounds can help manage PCOS. But since the candy is already in hand, I’m thinking the running is going to have to wait until spring break.

I’ll let you know how that works out for me.

{Odds are I’ll be back on those puppies in 3 weeks or less, but I really have read that sometimes going back on BC for a period of time can help regulate the PCOS. Guess this is a little experiment.}

Being a girl is fun sometimes. 😛

Blessed am I. {Seriously. Even though I’m basically just complaining in this post.}

Orientation. Like a boss.

What that even means I don’t really know, but it’s fun to say! ;P

We had our orientation this past weekend with Christian Homes Family Services out of Abilene, TX. From the moment we started considering adoption, Christian Homes was popping up in all sorts of conversations…always in the best of ways.

Once the decision to adopt was made, I couldn’t get our pre-application sent in to them soon enough, and was so excited when we heard back that we were ‘invited’ to their next orientation. I was really hoping it would be in January, slightly bummed when it was scheduled for early February. Then crazy Texas weather hit and postponed it again until late February.

So finally, this past Thursday, we were off on the trip I had been anticipating since early November. It was interesting, because as the day approached I did a little of that happy-yet-sad-all-at-the-same-time thing. I read in a book {I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve said that…I’d be rich, right Ma?!} that it is common to have parallel feelings related to your infertility/adoption experiences. I felt happy & excited to find out more about adoption, to finish our “information gathering” stage and hopefully be able to make a decision, to get the ball rolling with this new stage of life. And yet, there was a sadness running parallel to that. Sad for that genetic child that we’ll likely never know, sad that there won’t be an “easy way” to become a family. It was a little bit of an emotional time.

Chris & I stayed the night before with my parents {aka – Huxley’s dogsitters} before heading out on a beautiful & bright Friday morning. I was admittedly a tad bit nervous before going in, which Chris just could not understand. {Must be nice to be him sometimes!} As soon as we were walking up to the door my nerves settled as just the sweetest & cutest couple introduced themselves and walked in with us. From there, it was just a flurry of meeting other couples {6 in all} and everyone on staff at Christian Homes. We got settled in, had lunch, then hit the ground running…

We learned a lot about Christian Homes that day…in describing it to others afterwards I would say that they are incredibly blessed with a caring and incredibly knowledgeable staff {the longevity of their staff is amazing…many have been there 10, 20, even 30 years!} and that they are an incredible blessing through their ministry to birth mothers and the couples who work with them. Just quality, quality people.

After learning the specifics of their agency, we dove into all things adoption. I didn’t learn tons of brand new information…I’ve done *a*lot* of independent research over the last 4 or 5 months. It was definitely good to have what I did know clarified and confirmed.

When we left that evening, I had a rip-roaring headache…but armed with a generous gift from my parents with the instructions of ‘having some fun,’ we googled a Hibachi restaurant and set out on an adventure. It was a lot of fun to relax together & eat out somewhere nice…plus the food was delicious! I think one of my favorite parts of the weekend is just how much fun Chris & I had together, and how relaxed we were throughout the experience {minus my little nerves at the beginning and our brief spell of mental/physical exhaustion at the end}.

The next morning we had time to relax at Starbucks for a bit before heading in…which was a good thing, since first up on the agenda was all the legal ‘stuff’ {for total lack of a better word!} which included a lot of the ‘worst case scenarios.’ Insert giant eyes here.

The rest of the day were panels with young women who had been adopted as infants, couples who have adopted within the last 6 months or so, and birthmothers. Hearing from each of these women (and a couple of men!) was an incredible honor…I plan on writing more about that experience on a different day.

From there we were off and back on our way to the parents & our little puppy…with a brief stop in between to visit with their pastor and his family, who God brought together through adoption many moons ago.

All in all, great people, great experience, great start to this grand adventure!

Blessed am I.